Johnny Knox giving up football

CHICAGO -- Former Chicago Bears receiver Johnny Knox says he's giving up football.

The Bears terminated Knox's contract Tuesday after he missed this past season recovering from a back injury. Knox told the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday that his career is over and he's "moving on and going forward." Knox says he won't be able to perform with the same ability he used to have.

Knox says he knows "things will work out for the best" and added he has no hard feelings toward the Bears.

Knox needed surgery to stabilize a vertebra after he sustained a back injury against Seattle late in the 2011 season.

A vested veteran, Knox started in 27-of-45 games from 2009-11 for the Bears, catching 133 passes for 2,214 yards and 12 touchdowns. Knox was in the final year of his contract and received $1.26 million despite spending the entire 2012 season on the physically unable to perform list.

Despite working diligently to rehabilitate, Knox never recovered sufficiently enough to make a return to the team. Multiple sources expressed doubt that Knox ever would return to form given the severity of the injury.

Knox underwent spinal fusion surgery to stabilize his fractured vertebra on Dec. 19, 2011, and the initial prognosis was that it would take approximately six months just to recover to begin rehab for football. The injury was more severe than originally anticipated, and it was later discovered Knox suffered from some nerve damage.

Information from ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright and The Associated Press was used in this report.